On Mar 27, Zacks Investment Research upgraded
) to a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
POPULAR INC (BPOP): Free Stock Analysis
MONARCH FINANCL (MNRK): Free Stock Analysis
STELLARONE CORP (STEL): Free Stock Analysis
UNION FIRST MKT (UBSH): Free Stock Analysis
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Why the Upgrade?
StellarOne has been witnessing rising earnings estimates on the
back of strong fourth-quarter 2012 results. Moreover, this
well-known commercial banking services provider delivered
positive earnings surprises in the last 4 quarters, with an
average beat of 15.8%. The long-term expected earnings growth
rate for this stock is 5.0%.
StellarOne reported fourth-quarter results on Jan 24. Earnings
per share came in at 27 cents, surpassing the Zacks Consensus
Estimate of 24 cents by 12.5% and year-ago earnings of 17 cents
Earnings were primarily aided by solid year-over-year growth of
14.0% in non-interest income coupled with a 2.8% decrease in
non-interest expenses. Moreover, pre-tax, pre-provision earnings
were $10.6 million, up 19.4% year over year.
StellarOne marked growth in total assets and loans and the
company's balance sheet exhibited a strong capital position.
Credit quality metrics also continued to improve, recording
foreclosed asset levels at the lowest in the last 8 quarters.
Moreover, non-performing assets declined 12.8% compared with the
prior-year quarter, while net charge-offs for the fourth quarter
of 2012 descended 67.6% year over year.
The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2013 increased 4.2% to $1.00 per
share over the last 60 days. For 2014, the Zacks Consensus
Estimate jumped 6.0% to $1.06 per share over the same time frame.
Other Stocks to Consider
Besides StellarOne, other banks that are worth considering
Monarch Financial Holdings, Inc.
Union First Market Bankshares Corporation
). All the 3 banks retain a Zacks Rank #1.